President Trump today weighed in on the friction between a group of four freshman Democratic congresswomen and Speaker Nancy Pelosi: He suggested that the congresswomen — none of whom are white — should “go back and help fix” the countries they came from.

His message was immediately seized upon by Democrats, who called it a racist trope.

“So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run,” rump wrote on Twitter.

Broadly, Trump’s attack was meant for members of the so-called squad, a group engaged in an existential and generational war of words with Ms. Pelosi: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts.

“These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough,” Trump said. “I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!”

Only one of the women, Omar, who is from Somalia, was born outside the United States.

Ocasio-Cortez was born in the Bronx to parents of Puerto Rican descent. Pressley, who is black, was born in Cincinnati and raised in Chicago. And Tlaib was born in Detroit to Palestinian immigrants.

“Mr. President,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez responded on Twitter, “the country I ‘come from,’ & the country we all swear to, is the United States. But given how you’ve destroyed our border with inhumane camps, all at a benefit to you & the corps who profit off them, you are absolutely right about the corruption laid at your feet.”

Trump’s attack came after days of Fox News coverage that centered on  Omar.

During her tenure in Congress, Omar has rattled fellow Democrats and provided ammunition to Republicans for her repeated criticisms of Israel, including a comment that pro-Israel activists were pushing “for allegiance to a foreign country.”

And she has been vocal about her life as a refugee who fled her native country and eventually settled in America, only to be disappointed with the country she found. More than any of the others in her freshman group, Omar — one of the first two Muslim women in Congress along with Ms. Tlaib — has forcefully used her personal story to make the argument that loving America does not require an acceptance of its shortcomings.

“I grew up in an extremely unjust society, and the only thing that made my family excited about coming to the United States was that the United States was supposed to be the country that guaranteed justice to all,”Omar recently said. “So, I feel it necessary for me to speak about that promise that’s not kept.”

Comments like these have inflamed Fox News personalities like Tucker Carlson, who used his television program to lash out at Omar.

“Our country rescued Ilhan Omar,” Carlson said in a broadcast last week. “We didn’t do it to get rich; in fact it cost us money. We did it because we are kind people. How did Omar respond to the remarkable gift we gave her? She scolded us, and called us names, she showered us with contempt.”

Privately, some Democrats predicted the tweets could have a silver lining, giving both sides of the Democrats’ intraparty dispute something to unify around after days of taking shots at one another.

Publicly, they chided Trump for what they called a racially motivated message.

 

Attribution:The New York Times
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